May 20, 2022
S. Korean golfer realizes LPGA dream the hard way

SEOUL, December 13th (Yonhap) – After a solid and sometimes spectacular performance in two punchy weeks, South Korean golfer An Narin has realized her dream of making the LPGA Tour.

She did it the hard way. Two months ago she could have taken a much shorter path to the LPGA.

An won the 144-hole marathon of the LPGA Q-Series in Alabama on Sunday (local time) with 33 under 541 points and defeated Pauline Roussin-Bouchard from France in one fell swoop for the honor of a medalist. An carded a six-under-66 on the final lap at Highland Oaks Golf Club, the best result of any on the last 18 holes.

The 25-year-old has won the Korea LPGA (KLPGA) Tour twice and can now compete against the world’s best players.

“I am delighted to be able to travel to different countries,” said An, according to an interview transcript provided by the LPGA. “And I’m also looking forward to playing with players I’ve only seen on TV before.”

She met several LPGA players personally in October when she was competing in the BMW Ladies Championship, the only LPGA tournament that is held every season in South Korea.

While playing as a KLPGA member, An took the lead in the first round and tied first for 36 holes. Any non-LPGA member who wins a tournament will be eligible for full-time LPGA status for the following year, an opportunity not lost in An.

After the opening round, An announced for the first time that she had signed up for the LPGA Q series.

“I started golfing because I wanted to play on the LPGA Tour,” An said at the time. “That’s why I’m going to join the Q-School this winter. I want to do well there. But if I can win this week and go straight to the LPGA Tour, things will be much better.”

On the track faded and was third with 17 under equal points, five shots from a playoff won by Ko Jin-young.

Some South Korean players have taken the “win a tournament to get your LPGA card” route in recent years, and Ko has been the biggest hit. After winning a tournament on home soil in 2017, Ko won the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2018 and then the Player of the Year in 2019 and 2021.

Ko and the rest of the talented South Korean contingent will join them.

The victory in the Q series only occurred to her after the round on Friday, when she was two strokes behind the lead of Roussin-Bouchard. In her post-round interview, An was asked if she could possibly land at the top of the leaderboard. She replied that she wasn’t really looking to win the tournament, she just wanted to keep playing well.

She admitted on Sunday that the initial question had motivated her.

“I am very happy to have won the Q series,” said An. “The last two weeks have been physically demanding, but I’m glad I graduated with a high grade.”

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